Cain squandered his chance

Pompous, defiant, and arrogant to the end, Herman Cain has finally announced his withdrawal from the Republican presidential primary, removing a misfit from the field ("Cain suspends run for president," Sunday).

Cain consumed about 25 minutes to say what could and should have been said within a couple of minutes. Had he the slightest degree of humility, his statement would have prominently included this: "I have failed you, my supporters, and I have failed my family. I appreciate your generous and kind support, but the place for me in this race is on the sidelines. I will not be delivering a presidential endorsement nor do I intend to adopt a prominent public or political persona in the future. I had my chance, and I squandered it.

"This is the time for me to attempt to mend the relationships with my family that I have damaged and to ask God's forgiveness and blessing."

Oren M. Spiegler, Upper Saint Clair

Cain's candidacy was a joke

I am very upset that Herman Cain has abandoned his candidacy because of sexual harassment allegations: I'd hoped that he would give up much sooner simply because his candidacy was a bad joke.

What upsets me far more is that many American citizens, endowed with the power and privilege to vote, actually seemed, and seem still, to consider him a viable candidate for president. That is mind-boggling and even nausea-inducing. It is scary to think that a portion of the public wants a plain-talking (good) know-nothing (bad) as their leader, providing he is charming, folksy, and not too noticeably smarter or, heaven forbid, better-educated than most of us.

Cain and his wife should go home, have some pizza, and plan a well-deserved vacation. I understand Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan-stan is lovely this time of year.

Rita S. Mall, Jenkintown

How Obama can lower jobless rate

President Obama is a mortal lock for reelection if he can continue to lower the unemployment rate ("Nov.'s jobless rate of 8.6% a two-year low," Saturday). All he has to do is convince another four or five million of our unemployed to give up hope of ever getting a job. That should be a piece of cake for him, as it is pretty much the one activity at which he excels.

Joseph A. Ferry, Erdenheim

Questions about natural-gas drilling

The article "Frack-ture lines" (Sunday) was very informative, but only raised more questions about the extraction of natural gas in Pennsylvania. I was shocked to read that more than 70 percent of the workers in the Marcellus Shale drilling sites are from out of state. Why doesn't the legislature make sure that our residents are trained and hired? If "fracking" is bad for the environment, why aren't the drilling companies investing in new technology? How much of the revenue generated is remaining in the commonwealth? What are legislators doing to make sure this natural gas is not shipped to foreign countries, and that it is used in the United States?

For the sake of the public and for our land and air, we need a major detailed investigation of the extraction of natural gas in Pennsylvania.

Joe Gable, Warwick Township

Angry over GOP's payroll-tax stance

We are so angry over the Republicans' even hesitating to vote for an extension of the tax cut for employees and employers of middle-class America, when during the last administration they gave the rich a reduction in their taxes with the approval of President George W. Bush ("A rift among Republicans on payroll-tax cut extension," Saturday). Based upon the past and current performance of congressional millionaires, it is improbable that any regulations or tax cuts for average people will be approved. Vote them out.

Stephen and Janet McGill, North Wales

Keep your handguns out of Jersey

The writer of "Mind-boggling rules on gun ownership" (Friday) took 300 words to make a simple point: He feels inconvenienced because he can't legally bring his loaded and concealed handgun to New Jersey. Well, tough luck.

The Garden State's citizenry does not want any Pennsylvanian to bring loaded handguns to our state. We're serious about fighting gun violence and proud to have among the strongest gun-regulatory systems in the country. It's a reason that, according to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, New Jersey has one of the lowest per-capita rates of gun death in the country, less than half Pennsylvania's rate.

New Jersey residents and public officials have discussed, debated, and voted on concealed-carry, and have always, and overwhelmingly, come down on the side of public safety, no matter the inconvenience. Our Republican governor made this clear when his spokesman recently stated Chris Christie's opposition to federal legislation that would force our state to honor concealed-carry permits issued by other states.

And the writer must be kidding about "mind-boggling" gun rules. A purchase in Pennsylvania involves no more than filling out a form and passing a phoned-in background check, which takes less than an hour. An approved buyer can walk out with as many handguns as he can afford. No license, registration, or training required. Mind-boggling, indeed.

Bryan Miller, project director, Ceasefire New Jersey, cfnj@aol.com

In search of integrity at Penn State

Rod Erickson, the president of Penn State, says he wants more than a great football coach ("Penn State puts focus on integrity," Friday). He wants a man of integrity and honesty who is committed to academic excellence. Sounds like Joe Paterno, before his 46th season of coaching ended in a universal condemnation of a man who not only spoke of these ideals but was a leader who lived these traits.

I am not defending the lack of aggressive action on the part of Coach Paterno in the child sex-abuse case. He knows that he could have done more. Many people could have done more, most significantly the then-attorney general, and now governor, Tom Corbett. His actions or lack of action far outweigh Paterno's failings.

How exactly will Erickson find this perfect individual? If he is looking for a man with a perfect past and a guaranteed perfect future, he should stand up for a man he already has: interim coach Tom Bradley.

Andrew J. Anderson, Marlton, Andy.Anderson@RaymondJames.com

Bearing witness to a failure of the law

Michael Kinsley's column "Bishops are not exactly oppressed" (Nov. 23) makes basic mistakes concerning the law of religious freedom that require correction. Observers can no longer ignore what Archbishop Charles Chaput, among others, has warned against for years: Our law and culture are increasingly hostile to faith. This fact can be ignored or justified. Kinsley tries to do both.

Kinsley counsels, "Don't worry," by citing six Catholic justices on the Supreme Court as a guarantee of religious freedom. In Employment Division v. Smith (1990), however, the court's majority opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, held that the court had no jurisdiction to create First Amendment-based exemptions to neutral and general laws that impose on religious practice.

The Church is not "complaining," but bearing witness to a failure by the law to respect religious views. Catholics have good ground to call for better law. And so they will. The issue is bearing witness to a culture in which the law increasingly threatens the very possibility of authentic religious belief and practice.

Patrick McKinley Brennan, associate dean and John F. Scarpa Chair in Catholic Legal Studies, Villanova University

Michael P. Moreland, associate professor of law, Villanova University School of Law